TCI Coatings initially formulated the bronze finish color Chrysler was looking for in the bumper coating and in partnership with Flex-N-Gate and Powder Cote II, presented color panels to the Chrysler styling team. Feedback was very positive, but TCI Coating’s Paul Spencer and Flex-N-Gate shared some application concerns. The smooth coating would not provide the same hiding capabilities for metal defects and impact lines as the current textured black coating used on Jeep bumpers. The time to assess another solution was in this early phase before production began.
TCI Coatings and Flex-N-Gate recommended that Chrysler consider a textured metallic coating for the bumpers. This coating would deliver the rugged look and beauty that customers had become accustomed to with the textured black finish, while still providing robust performance characteristics and hiding coverage.
The Chrysler design team said they would take it under review if TCI Coatings wanted to come back with a recommended color.
Work began in the TCI Coatings lab. A team of chemists began formulation of a textured Smoke Bronze metallic coating that would match the rest of the componentry. Matching between a smooth, solid finish coating and textured metallic coating is complex. The mica flakes used in a metallic coating along with the textured finish create a multi-dimensional effect on the coating. When viewed from different angles, the color looks different, so the color needs to match from various viewing angles. Formulating this match is a combination of science and art. Five experienced color experts in the TCI lab served as part of the development team.
When the first color samples of the textured Smoke Bronze metallic powder coating were presented, the Chrysler styling team immediately liked it and asked TCI to continue fine-tuning the color to have a slightly less red hue. Several rounds of color formulation adjustments and reviews were done over a period of months and as the project progressed, the TCI and Flex-N-Gate team moved from showing samples of flat color panels to painted bumpers. This allowed the Chrysler team to complete more detailed studies of how the coating would work with the other bronze trim componentry.